Typically, a detective’s job entails gathering evidence from a crime scene and analyzing it. They also conduct interviews of witnesses, interrogate suspects and use the gathered information to solve a crime.

Should I Become a Detective in California?

To work as a detective in California means you have to work under the California Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The data reported by the US Bureau of Labor Statisticsin 2019 states that California had 11,810 Detectives and Criminal Investigators employed all over the state.

  • Education Required
  • Major Requirement
  • Licenses/Certifications
  • Experience/Training
  • Key Skills
  • Annual Mean Salary (2019)-California
  • Annual Mean Salary (2019)-National
  • Job Outlook (2018-28)
  • A college degree (either associate’s or bachelor’s)
  • Criminology, Criminal Justice or another related subject
  • Police License is required
  • Attending a PoliceTraining Academy is mandatory
  • Attention to Detail, Integrity, Physical Stamina &Strength; Problem-solving, Observational, Communication, Leadership, Interpersonal Skillsetc.
  • $107,760 (Detectives and Criminal Investigators)
  • $86,030 (Detectives and Criminal Investigators)
  • 5% (Police and Detectives)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2019)

Career Outlook for a Detective in California

TheUS Bureau of Labor Statistics has projecteda 5% employment growth for this occupation from 2018 to 2028. In addition to that, in 2018, the BLS reported a total of 808,700 Police & Detectives working in the US.

Steps to Become a Detective in California

The requirements to become a detective in California typically vary for every city and the local police departments.However, most of these departments require detectives to complete the following steps.

Earn a College Degree

Almost all police departments in California require their detectives to have earned a college degree. It means they must either have a 2-year associate’s degree or a 4-year bachelor’s degree in Criminology,Law Enforcement, Criminal Justiceor anotherrelevant subject.

Serve as a Police/Patrol Officer

Almost all departments in California require candidates to have at least 3 to 5 years of work experience as a police/patrol officer before applying for a detective’s slot.
All candidates must get hired as police/patrol officers by the relevant police departments.The hiring process often includes multiple tests such as, medical exam, physical fitness exam, psychological exam, background checks, a written exam and graduation from the police academy etc. All departments have different requirements as well as hiring process. It is better to directly contact the relevant department and enquire about the recruitment information.

Graduate fromthe Police Training Academy

All candidates must have proof ofgraduating from the relevant police training academy. Thepolice training academy trains all new recruits in handling firearm, controlling traffic, state and local laws, first aid, collection of evidence and self-defense etc.

Apply for the Post of Detective

Majority of the police departments internally promote their officers to the post of a detective instead of recruiting them from outside. In case of a transfer, departments usually request you to submit a formal letter of intent to the detective unit you want towork with. As soon as the post becomes available, you will have to undergo the selection process and upon successful hiring, you may work as a detective.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Detective in California?

It depends on how and when you completed your education and how much work experience you have gained as a police officer. Typically, it may take you anywhere between 6 to 8 years to work as a detective in California. It may take less time if you complete the requirements early and have an excellent profile.

What Are the Requirements of Becoming a Detective in California?

To work as a detective in California, you must:

  • Be a legal US citizen and have a valid driving license
  • Earn a college degree in Criminology or another related subject
  • Clear all required tests
    • Medical, physical, psychological exams
    • Written exam
    • Background checks and criminal records etc.
  • Successfully graduate fromthe police academy
  • Serve as a Police/Patrol Officer for 3 to 5 years
  • Apply for the Post of a detective
  • Pass the interview and required tests

How Much Can I Make as a Detective in California?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported $107,760 as the annual mean salary for Detectives and Criminal Investigatorsemployed in California in 2019.